It's like Dejà vu
At the June 4th BOE meeting last year (watch it here, start at minute 55), we came away feeling optimistic. Nearly all aspects of Dr. Luizzi's presentation of a) the research into other districts and b) the survey conducted in New Canaan pointed in one direction: All districts contacted had very good outcomes from their later start times and New Canaan's survey indicated a clear desire for change.
In addition, every board member commented that they were in support of two very specific next steps:
1. Forming a committee
2. Developing multiple implementation options to be reviewed in time to make a decision prior to 2019 budgeting. There was also specific conversations about the fact that a traffic study could be conducted in the same timeframe.
What happened instead?
As you know, there is still no committee. The next time the Board heard anything more about start times was at the November 19 meeting when four inadequate bus options were discussed. Even if there had been a perfect bus option on that day, the traffic study had not begun and November 19 was already too late for making a decision in time for budgeting.
Why did this happen?
We have no idea. We have emailed, written letters to the editor, commented at BOE meetings, quoted their own district goal (to create a committee and develop options before budgeting) back to them. To date, we have heard no explanation for the delay.
What do they say will happen next?
They will continue working on it, with the goal to have something, sometime in June.
What do we fear will actually happen?
Come June, the Board, having seen nothing in the interim, will review another set of bus options and maybe the traffic study. They will again discuss a committee, getting more feedback from the public, maybe even bringing in an expert speaker in the fall of 2019. (The administration has been talking about expert speakers since 2017 and the only speaker that has been brought in has been by our group, at our own expense, with no sponsorship or publicity from the district. Some of them did attend.) Once again, they will decide to take the summer off and convene again in Sept, with the goal to make a decision in time for 2020 budgeting. Sound familiar?
What can you do?
1. Attend the Monday, Jan 7 BOE meeting at 7 PM in the Wagner Room and
a) ask for specific explanation for why the district did not meet its own district goal and why the BOE has not held them accountable for that.
b) ask for a specific, step by step project plan with deliverables, due dates and roles and responsibilities for what they will produce before the end of this school year.
c) ask that the BOE require the Administration to move up the due date for additional options and decisions to early May, to allow time before the summer for the Board to ask for additional information.
If you can't attend, email the entire BOE and administrators with one click here.
Petition signers are very important
Why does the district continue to delay, ignoring their own goals, the very positive results of their own research and survey, and the request by several BOE members for action?
We don’t know, because no one has answered that question and it does not seem that the BOE is going to ask the Administration for an explanation.
We do know that the best way to make this a priority is to demonstrate that families support it. So one of the most important things you can do is check the list of petition signers and forward the petition to 5 friends who have not yet signed it. And forward this newsletter as well!
We have about 700 families that have signed the petition, and we would like that number to be 1,000. Please share!!
See you on Monday at the BOE meeting - 7PM Wagner Room.